2016: A Year in Review

The WFP Innovation Accelerator World Food Programme

Section 01

At a glance

WFP's Innovation Accelerator identifies, nurtures and scales bold solutions to end hunger globally. We support WFP entrepreneurs, external start-ups and companies from our base in Munich, Germany, through funding, hands-on entrepreneurial support and a global presence, as well as access to expert networks.

WFP believes that innovation is key to achieving a world without hunger by 2030. By applying innovation best practice such as lean startup and human-centered design, the Accelerator helps entrepreneurs find out what works and what doesn’t in addressing hunger. It is a place where we can be bold, and fail as well as succeed.

Through the ‘2016: A Year in Review’ visualisation, we aim to highlight just a flavour of the big ideas and initiatives that we believe can make Zero Hunger a reality. For more information on all our activities, please visit the WFP Innovation website.

Number of people reached by Accelerator-supported projects
Innovation projects
Countries with ongoing Accelerator-supported innovations
Staff working on innovations

Ideas submitted to the WFP-internal Innovation Challenge

Media mentions globally
Attendees at Accelerator workshops or Boot Camps

Innovation Boot Camps in Munich, Germany

Where we work



Our innovation projects receive funding, strategic guidance and hands-on support from the Accelerator in bringing ideas to life.

The designations employed and the presentation of material in the map(s) do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever of WFP concerning the legal or constitutional status of any country, territory or sea area, or concerning the delimitation of frontiers.

Section 02

Innovation Projects

The WFP Innovation Accelerator’s portfolio is composed of high-potential solutions that tackle some of the biggest challenges in both humanitarian and development aid. In just twelve months, from January to December 2016, the number of supported projects went from 5 to 25. From high-tech, futuristic technologies that are transforming the global economy like Blockchain, to revolutionising age-old solutions like hydroponics, the Accelerator is quickly testing the best new ideas for high-impact, sustainable food assistance.

Through the Accelerator’s Sprint Programme, teams receive 50,000 to 100,000 US dollars in investment, technological and design support, and space to reach proof of concept and develop prototypes ready for implementation. Over the course of an intensive three- to six- month sprint, innovators receive unparalleled access to WFP’s global network of partners, resources and a best-in-class support structure.

You can see the full list of Accelerator-supported projects by visiting our website.



Crowdfunding mobile app

ShareTheMeal is WFP’s award winning app that allows smartphone users to provide children with vital nutrition with a simple tap on their phones. Free to download, the app is a pioneering way for people to join our efforts in creating a world with zero hunger. By the end of 2016, over 780,000 users worldwide have already donated more than 11 million meals.

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Livelihood opportunities

Tech for Food

Digital training for a brighter future

In the Middle East, WFP is using innovative approaches to train people whose access to food is unreliable. Working with Syrian refugees as well as host communities, we help them build a brighter future by developing digital skills and forging new livelihood opportunities together with the private sector. WFP connects the most vulnerable people we serve to new opportunities that help them and their families to provide for their most basic food needs.

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Cultivation techniques


Growing food and improving nutrition anywhere

WFP is testing hydroponics - a water-efficient and soilless cultivation technique - to understand what it takes to grow food in some of the world’s toughest environments. Three different pilots are being conducted in Algeria, Jordan and Peru as a means of ensuring greater food security for hungry families living in harsh and cramped conditions, such as refugee camps and dense urban areas.

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Security & Efficiency

Building Blocks

Testing blockchain technology

WFP is testing blockchain technology to be able to deliver assistance more effectively – and potentially save millions of dollars. A pilot in 2016 confirmed the ability of blockchain to authenticate, record, and reconcile cash transactions in Pakistan. WFP is running an extensive test in Azraq refugee camp in Jordan, where Syrian refugees are redeeming their cash-based transfers on the blockchain-based system.

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MAANO Virtual Farmers Market

Connecting farmers with markets

The Virtual Farmers Market, also known as Maano, is an app-based information platform where farmers’ surplus and buyers’ demand for grains are advertised and traded virtually. A pilot is being carried out in Zambia.

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Optimising social protection programmes

MAPS is a cutting-edge monitoring tool that optimises social protection programmes, such as nutritional support for mothers and young children, by capturing and visualising key information and outcomes in real-time. The purpose is to track improvements in the health of malnourished women and their children, and to create a consolidated database. It was created in collaboration with the Government of El Salvador, where the pilot is currently underway

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Section 03

Meet the WFP innovators

Raul Saenz-Inestrillas
Raul Saenz-Inestrillas
WFP Engineering Project Manager
Self-sustaining school meals
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If you have strong evidence that your concept can create positive impact, don’t hesitate to try it out. I recommend involving the Innovation Accelerator to get a sense of their start-up-like approach – a rare, valuable asset in development organizations.
Soazic Dupuy
Soazic Dupuy
WFP Programme officer
Desert hydroponics
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The Accelerator helped us to design the proof of concept and think outside the box. Working with people from the private sector and those with start-up experience helped us to take a step back from our usual way of working. Never think you can achieve it alone!
Mario Enrique Gomez
Mario Enrique Gomez
WFP VAM Head of Unit
MAPS (Monitoring Social Protection Programmes)
El Salvador
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Great innovations sometimes are subtle but improve the quality of life of people exponentially.
Section 04


WFP cannot achieve its goal of Zero Hunger alone. That is why the WFP Innovation Accelerator is pursuing and nurturing strong and effective partnerships with like-minded, forward thinkers from the private sector, government, academia, our inter-agency links, international organisations and NGOs. Here are just a few of our partners, whose commitment and dedication to vulnerable communities and innovation will help us achieve a world without hunger.

Section 06

How to get involved

Apply to the WFP Innovation Accelerator

Do you have an idea with the potential to solve hunger? Apply to the WFP Innovation Accelerator and receive up to US$ 100,000 in funding, mentorship from industry experts and access to WFP’s field operations worldwide.

Apply now